Malawi Lake Basin Program (MLBP), a consortium of five non-governmental organizations has pledged to continue various efforts aimed at empowering communities to manage the environment sustainably.
MLBP District Coordinator for Mangochi, Bridget Fulagombe made the pledge recently at Lundu village in the area of Traditional Authority Chimwala in Mangochi during the launch of this year’s district tree planting season which was supported by the organisation.
“It has always been the desire of Malawi Lake Basin Programme to complement government in its various development activities including environmental management efforts especially now that the effects of environmental degradation are there for everyone to witness,” she said.
Fulagombe observed that conservation of the environment has a bearing on weather pattern and consequently on agricultural production whose effects in the long run reflect on the country’s food security.
“This is the more reason we take keen interest to engage with smallholder farmers to adopt conservation agriculture which is both highly productive and environmentally friendly,” she added.
Fulagombe said the village natural resource management committee (VNRMC) in the area has been instrumental in the whole process of raising the seedlings from the nursery through the designated woodlot.
However, Fulagombe appealed to communities to take keen interest in the management of natural resources by among other things controlling livestock from damaging the trees.
Mangochi District Council Chairperson, Yusuf Kusweje urged people in the district to plant more trees in a bid to mitigate effects of weather and climate change which manifest through floods and droughts as experienced in current and the last growing seasons.
Kusweje disclosed that the council was in the process of developing by-laws to govern people on proper and sustainable utilization of the environment.
“In fact, the process has delayed, we should have had the by-laws in place already because human activities have largely contributed to the dwindling state of the environment. These by-laws are not meant to punish but to simply govern,” he emphasised.
Kusweje also asked communities in the district to desist from the temptation of charcoal production, which said, could be attributed to the drastic rate of deforestation.
District Forestry Officer for Mangochi, Fidelis Nthenda urged people to take advantage of the season to plant more trees as one way of restoring the country’s vegetative cover.
He particularly encouraged people to plant trees in riverine to curb siltation and sedimentation in lakes and rivers which directly affects power generation in Shire River.
Nthenda, however, commended communities for taking part in the tree planting exercise, noting that the department of forestry has a few extension workers as such it relies on other players to support in its interventions.
According to Nthenda, the district expects to plant at least 1.5 million trees this year alone while more than 5, 600 trees have already been planted in the area with support of the VNRMC.
In his remarks, Traditional Authority Chimwala thanked Malawi Lake Basin Programme for being a true partner in afforestation and natural resources management in his area. He, however, discouraged his subjects against cultivating along river banks.
President Peter Mutharika launched the national tree planting season which runs from January 15 to April 15 on January 18 this year at Masasa Primary School in Ntcheu whose theme is: “Combat deforestation, plant trees, conserve forests.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :